Baldor Specialty Foods seeks support for paralyzed employee Manny Maldonado

08/19/2009 03:41:14 PM
Ashley Bentley

Maldonado

Baldor Specialty Foods Inc. is reaching out to industry members for support in the wake of an employee’s crippling injury. Manny Maldonado, night warehouse supervisor of the Bronx, N.Y.-based company’s Boston facility, was paralyzed from the waist down in a recent car accident.

The accident, which took place July 20, will affect Maldonado for the rest of his life, according to a letter from the company to its customers, vendors, friends and family. The letter announced a Sept. 12 fundraising event at the company’s headquarters.

The Friends of Manny Maldonado, a group made up primarily of Baldor Specialty Foods’ managers, is sponsoring the event, which will include a dinner and Chinese auction from 3-8 p.m. The proceeds will go directly to Maldonado.

“One of the things we’ve considered is maybe putting the funds toward a wheelchair-accessible van or something like that,” said Eileen Manitsas, chief financial officer for Baldor.

Maldonado was in rehabilitation as of Aug. 19, Manitsas said. His first try at rehabilitation ended up with him back in the hospital, but he is progressing and back out again, she said.

“We’re planning on him coming back to work,” Manitsas said.

Maldonado joined the company in 2003 as a picker. Until moving to the Boston facility in 2006, he also served as supervisor in the warehouse department.

“He did everything over in Boston from working in the warehouse, taking orders, buying at the markets,” Manitsas said. “He was always willing to help. He always answered the phone every time I called Boston.”

Baldor’s vendors and customers have been donating gift certificates and products to include in the fundraising auction.

“We’ve gotten some really cool items,” Manitsas said. “We have gift cards from restaurants that are customers of ours.”

Abigail Kirsch, a well known caterer in New York who runs Tappan Hill, a restaurant and catering operation, donated a signed copy of one of her cookbooks and a gift package to her restaurant. The Culinary Institute of America also donated gift cards for meals at its four restaurants in the area.

“We’ve also got games for kids and all kinds of stuff going on,” Manitsas said.

To participate in the auction, attendees can buy tickets and apply them to the items they want. At the end, one name from the pot for each item will be drawn as the winner.

Friends of Manny Maldonado has not set up any sort of official non-profit organization, but intends for the fundraiser to be a one-time thing to help him until he gets back to work. All money raised will go directly to him, Manitsas said.

More information about the fundraising event is available at (718) 304-4500 or info@baldorfood.com. Baldor’s headquarters is at 155 Food Center Drive., Bronx, N.Y.



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